Trail Blazers

James Harden is already getting the Trail Blazers wins

Trail Blazers

James Harden isn't even on the Trail Blazers and he's already getting Portland wins.

It was on Christmas eve that news broke about Harden expanding his list of preferred trade destinations to include the Portland Trail Blazers. 

Social media lit up like a Christmas tree and fans let their minds go crazy as they drummed up the best trade ideas to send to Texas.

Two days later, on a cold Saturday night in Rip City, Harden took the court in Moda Center, albeit still wearing a Houston jersey.

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Depending on who you ask, or who you root for, Harden was auditioning for the Blazers job.

He did not disappoint.

The former league MVP dropped 44 points and 17 assists but his biggest play came in the final second of overtime.

If the final play of the game was any indication, he was doing his best to prove he could help Portland win. 

With the ball in his hands and the Rockets down by two in overtime, Harden drove to the basket with hopes of tying the game as time expired. 

The Blazers defense collapsed and Harden was forced to pass the ball out to cutting P.J. Tucker. 

Portland saw it coming, got a hand on the ball and forced the turnover for the win.

Pretty cut and dried, right? Wrong.

There are two possible reasons this play happened, and only two. Don't try to tell me otherwise.

 

The first, and clearly the most obvious reason, was that Harden was proving to Neil Olshey and Co. he can help the Blazers win. Even if he isn't wearing the pinwheel he can give the Blazers a dub. 

Why score the bucket when he can turn the ball over and give Portland its first win of the season?

Clearly, that was his intent. It was all a plan to make sure the team he hopes to get traded to has an extra win when he gets there. Smart.

The second and only slightly less feasible option was that he forgot what year it was. That is to say, he forgot Robert Covington was no longer a member of the Rockets. 

Harden threw so many assists to RoCo in his short time with Houston last year that when Harden saw him in the paint, wearing an all-red jersey no less, muscle memory took over. 

If Covington were on his team, it would have been a wide-open layup. But that just isn't the case... yet.

Social media took notice, too. 

That screenshot of Tucker looking at Harden shows he knows what's happening. 

Of course, Harden had a good excuse for the final play of the game: "I was just trying to make a quick decision," Harden said postgame. "Once I got in the paint, they did a pretty good job of using their hot hands. I feel like-- I think it was PJ [Tucker] on the block-- if he would have crept in, we would have had a lay-up. It would have been a tough shot to shoot over a couple of guys."

Sure, James... sure.